WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission says a software design company and seven computer rental firms have agreed to settle charges that they secretly gathered confidential and personal information about consumers who had rented machines from them.
The FTC said Wednesday that software installed on the computers captured Social Security numbers, medical records, bank and credit statements, webcam pictures of children and even couples engaged in sex. The commission said the software developed by DesignerWare LLC of North East, Pa., was licensed to the rental stores so they could track the location of rented computers that hadn't been returned in time or had been stolen.
The commission said the settlements prohibit the companies from further illegal spying, from activating any location-tracking software without customer consent, and from deceptively collecting information about consumers.
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